SEC

If you pitch on Friday in the SEC, you’re elite. There are two Coast products in that role.

Freshman left-hander Garrett Crochet has taken over the Friday night starting pitcher role for the University of Tennessee baseball team.
Freshman left-hander Garrett Crochet has taken over the Friday night starting pitcher role for the University of Tennessee baseball team. Tennessee Athletics

East Central product Konnor Pilkington has been a dominant force on the mound for the Mississippi State baseball team the last two years, but he won't be the only Coast native pitching on Fridays in SEC play this season.

Former Ocean Springs star Garrett Crochet is set to get to the start for Tennessee in Friday's SEC opener at Ole Miss. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. in Oxford.

The left-hander was largely overlooked at Ocean Springs High School and signed with Jones County Junior College in November of 2017, but his stock skyrocket last summer when he threw 91 miles per hour in front of scouts and college coaches in Houston.

Tulane became the first of several Division I schools to offer Crochet and he was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 34th round of the MLB Draft in June.

In July, he chose Tennessee over Texas.

The Volunteers are in their first season under Tony Vitello, who previously served on the staff at Arkansas.

The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Crochet will make just his second start of the season against the Rebels. He is 1-2 with a 3.57 ERA in five appearances this year, striking out 20 and walking only three in 22 2/3 innings.

Ocean Springs senior Garrett Crochet had a big game on the mound.

This will be Crochet's second consecutive start in the Friday night role after giving up one earned run on five hits in 8 innings last week in a 3-2 win over Cincinnati in extra innings. He struck out eight and walked none.

Crochet will face one of the nation's top left-handers in Oxford with Ryan Rolison (3-1, 2.28) taking the mound for the Rebels (17-1).

Tennessee is off to a 12-6 start and riding a four-game winning streak into the start of conference play.

Pilkington, a junior, is off to a strong start, going 1-1 with a 1.17 ERA in four starts this season. He has 35 strikeouts with just one walk in 23 innings.

Mississippi State (10-7) hosts Vanderbilt at 6:30 p.m. on Friday in Starkville in the SEC opener.

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